42 thoughts on “Rate the match: New Zealand 28 v 27 England

  1. Damn it!
    – Last weeks centres were better than this weeks, we should revert to that. 36 has had enough chances to take ownership of the 12 shirt, but the error counts are too high.
    – Manu isn’t a winger (I reckon Ashton’s pace would have got him that try in the right corner) …. but it was a cracking offload to Brown for Ashton’s consolation try.
    – Launchbury looks knackered, needs a rest.
    – Start Vunipola and go for Morgan’s pace off the bench.

    Still some great individual performances though, and although it was only a late cameo it was great to see the right hand side of a scrum going forward when Brookes came on.

  2. Gutted. NZ were on another level in the second half, thought we were on for a big beating, but fair play for England digging in.

    Scoreline probably flattered Eng but again fair play to the boys for not giving. And no I don’t think NZ eased off. I have seen plenty of times the relish NZ on preventing the opposition any kind positives.

    Lots of things to improve most of all our kicking game.

  3. Poor kicking. I thought that we had got over that issue. Essentially handed the momentum to NZ and they don’t need a second invitation. It’s a bad day when Davey Wilson is your most efficient kicker!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tuilagi on the wing – that debate is now over. Fair play to SL for trying it but not again – he’s too much of a force of nature to move from the centre. Who to play with him? 12T had some good and bad moments. Burrell was quiet. Agree with Matt – Launchbury looks tired. Was prominent for 30 mins and then disappeared.

    My team for the next test then

    Marler, Webber, Wilson
    Parling, Lawes
    Robshaw, Vunipola, Haskell (never thought that I would say it but I think we missed his physicality)
    Care, Farrell
    12T, Tuilagi
    Ashton, Brown, Yarde

    Ultimately disappointed but not disheartened. NZ the better team, but we can play better than that and I still think that we can win next week. Keep the ball next week – no aimless kicking please. Might need to look at that defensive structure too. AB’s looked dangerous every time the ball went wide.

  4. Scoreline probably flatters England. Dont think we got our tactics right. So many times we had possesion on the half way point but couldnt do anything with it apart from kick to smith or give away a penalty. Launchbury and Parling once again found out to be too lightweight a pair. Lawes and attwood for next week. Morgan was quiet so vunipola in.

    last chance for burrell and 12trees. The former was anonymous, the latter notable for his mistakes. Care was quiet too and made a few.errors with his.kicking and handling, good decision making for first try though

    1. banastre – I’m not sure of the exact figures but I think that you will find that Lawes is the lightest of all of our locks!

  5. For 20 minutes NZ were fantastic.


    am I the only one who thinks Farrell is not up the the job.
    Missed tackles, missed touches, passes to nobody, little creativity, and does not pose a real threat when running which allows the defence to drift sooner.
    His game management is not good enough either.
    Week in week out he is flattered by playing behind very good packs (Sarries and England) and gets a Roles Royce service on the front foot most of the time
    The need to have a real play maker (12T) at 12 is because we don’t have one at 10.

    It’s not as if we don’t have really exciting options at 10. 2 on tour and one in recovery.

    Farrell was shaded by Myler and Wilkinson in the two matches that mattered at home at the end of the season. His kicking stats do not put him on the starting sheet either,

    I just think he’s not quite good enough.

  6. Sadly 2 of our best players, Brown and Launchbury, are having worrying dips in form. Where the hell did Brown disappear to for the Manu break? Hate to say it but Ashton would have been right on his shoulder and I honestly believe 17-3 up would’ve been enough to take the match. Another wasted opportunity.

    1. Brown was in the best place he could get to. If Manu had half a brain he’d have run towards his support instead of away from it…………

      1. Manu took the line as well as he needed to. If he runs into the middle, it’s an easier tackle for the fullback and it’s easier for the New Zealand defence to close them down. What I’d expect anyone to do in that situation is run down the line, create the 2-on-1 and create indecision. Brown’s supporting run took him away from Manu and left him with a 1-on-1 which any half decent fullback will win, even on Manu.

        Manu was never going to kick or throw the big pass back inside which Brown should know, but then again, Lancaster should know and not have put Manu on the wing.

  7. The 30 minute onslaught in the second half was brutal and ultimately gave us just a tad too much chasing to do. Gotta give credit for digging deep and not rolling over, I felt certain we were heading for a routing after the yellow.
    Care needs to eliminate the errors, Twelvetrees needs to make better decisions and the forwards need to avoid conceding so many turnovers.
    Also agree with Woodward that Hartley and Lawes had less impact off the bench than expected. Whilst the Tuilagi experiment wasn’t disastrous (on two occasions he was actually excellent under pressure), it didn’t bring him into the game enough and Burrell was far too anonymous to warrant his place over our best attacker. It’s also worth assuming that Ashton and May’s extra yard of pace would have managed to escape Smith in the corner. Launchbury looks knackered and could do with an early end to the season.
    Team for next week would be:
    Marler, Hartley, Wilson.
    Lawes, Parling.
    Wood, Vunipola, Robshaw.
    Care, Farrell.
    Twelvetrees, Tuilagi.
    Yarde, Brown, Ashton.

    Webber, Mullan, Brookes, Attwood, Morgan, Dickson, Cipriani and May on the bench.

    What on Earth happened to stamping down on squint feeds? I only saw Smith feed it once in the tunnel, all the others were at the ankles of Whitelock and Retallick. Favouring your hooker is one thing but throwing it straight to the second row shouldn’t be happening.

  8. I think some must have watched a different game to me. I thought England were the better side, and that the “Blicks” were hanging on near the end.
    We (England) gave that game away with silly errors, if we made our kicks it would have been very different. Tuilagi needs to get back in the centre. Ashton would have easily scored that try on pace. Laws should have started, or come on earlier in the game. Hartley to start next week. I think care should start again, as he rarely has two poor games in a row. Yarde was first class, England and the Quinns wil do well with him over the next couple of years. My son is a front row prop, and now wants to be a winger like Yarde! Haskill has to play next week, and I would give Cipriani a run out for 20 minutes, him Yarde and Ashton could cause the NZ’ers real trouble. Brown had a game not up to his normal standard and even though I’m a one eyed Englishman I thought his try could well have not been grounded, but, we needed a break, as like many refs this ref did England no favours. But, as an ex scrum half i really can’t understand why the scrum halfs can’t put a ball in straight, and why refs can’t see it being fed into the back row. At one put in the NZ hooker had his leg almost out of the tunnel……about 3 seconds before the ball was fed in missing it completely with it almost bouncing off the noses of the second row. I think we may well win next week. I bet that NZ will not enjoy the world cup next year as much as England will…..who are building a great side…..

  9. Hate to say it but 12t was poor today. He has a real tendency to follow every good thing he does up with a bad thing. I think it was three breaks he made and then tried offloads that weren’t on or he couldn’t execute. This lost our momentum and handed them the ball for their first try.

    Manu is no winger, enough said. On his break he looked for support but Brown had stopped chasing. Not quite sure why but he had a funny ten minutes after getting taken out off the ball.

    Burrell unfortunately had a poor game, missed several tackles and offered very little in attack. I would go back to eastmond and Manu next week, just think they worked well and caused more trouble. Would love to see Antony Watson given a start next week on the wing, that kid is the complete package, but realistically would be happy with; care, Owen yard eastmond Manu Ashton/may Brown.

    That said it still is a massive achievement to get within a point against the kiwis at home, still chance for next week. Billy v and laws need to start, two of our only world class players and we need them.

    Think criticism of Farrell is harsh, seeing as he was taking on the extra responsibility of covering at the back to make up for two wingers who are not kickers. Also in regards to his attaching, breaking the line wasn’t our problem it was what came after where we failed. He did miss nonu a couple of times and his kicking was good in my opinion.

    As a side note what a phenomenal player Ben Smith is, he and Aaron Smith were the difference between the teams for me.

    Still a good match, we are not so far behind and still have a good chance next week.

  10. I agree with others the score slightly flattered us.NZ skills are a class above us hence fewer mistakes and don’t forget they are missing Read and Carter the best 8and 10 in the world.They will still be formidable in the World Cup and we need to improve our skills and decision making.If our error level is the same as theirs we can win-that is the improvement we need to make

  11. I’m absolutely astounded to hear people saying that Lancaster should drop Brown! How quickly they forget! And we know we have a class full back when an assist and a try (albeit a slightly dubious one) are considered form worthy of being dropped. We should only look at alternatives after the World Cup.
    All things considered, the team next week should be.
    5)Lawes-this partnership was world class in the 6N but it is ├╝ber harsh on Parling
    6)Wood-I maintain that Haskell is a better bodybuilder than rugby player.
    10)Farrell-Had a poor game but is undoubtedly England’s no.1 fly half. DOES POSE A RUNNING GAME AND CAN MANAGE A GAME-SEE 6N.
    11) Yarde
    12)Eastmond-I’ve been patient with Twelvetrees- he does good things- but he does plenty of bad things too.
    13)Tuilagi-not a winger.
    14)Ashton-can’t stand the guy but when he’s in such good form you cannot ignore him. Can you imagine an NZ player diving over for a consolation score though?
    15) Brown (obviously)

      1. @Ray-to be fair it was on a youtube comment thread. I would take most things from there with a pinch of salt!

  12. To freshen up the side and go for max physicality up front (where we can take it to them) I’d go with the following for next week.

    1) Marler
    2) Webber
    3) Wilson
    4) Lawes
    5) Attwood (Retallick was the dominant lock today, we need someone who can go toe-to-toe with him)
    6) The Has
    7) Robshaw
    8) Vunipola
    9) Care
    10) Farrell
    11) Yarde
    12) Eastmond (don’t mind if they try Burell)
    13) Tuilagi
    14) Ashton
    15) Brown

    16) Hartley
    17) Mullan
    18) Brookes
    19) Parling (give Launchbury an early bath, he looks like he needs it)
    20) Morgan or Wood (don’t mind)
    21) Youngs
    22) Burns (why they didn’t do Burns for 36 when Farrell got yellow today I have no idea)
    23) Foden

  13. That early second half spell from New Zealand was incredible. Sure there were certain things we could have done better but it was the best side in the world playing at home and near their best.

    Biggest worry from our perspective is basic game management. A couple of times in the first game we played too much in our own half, going nowhere, and it cost us points. This game our kicking game was poor and we couldn’t get any territory.

    Watched Tuilagi’s break again and Brown’s “support play” is bizarre, I presume he backed Tuilagi to make it but he must have known that Smith was quicker. Infuriating watching Manu get his arms free in the tackle and seeing Brown 15 yards off his shoulder. Going in at 17-3 might have been enough, even against NZ playing like that. The biggest difference between the sides has been execution near the try line.

    1. It was odd wasn’t it? Maybe he was hoping Manu would kick infield? I think he was being obstructed by the other NZ defender tracking back, who would have made if hard for him to collect cleanly.

      1. Well he starts off ahead of Jane, but then starts jogging and lets him run past him. You’d think as soon as Manu made the break Brown had to do everything he could to get on his shoulder. If he’s expecting a kick from a full speed Manu…no words.

        1. My theory for brown’s behavior is that he was drifting away to draw the other new zealand defence away from Manu- he backed Manu one-on-one to steamroll Smith. Still the wrong decision, but trying to understand why he wasnt screaming for the ball two yards of manu’s shoulder.

          (Oh and for the record disagree with some earlier comments- Manu shouldn’t have run in field towards Brown. Support player’s job in that situation to get next to the ball carrier, not for the ball carrier to change his run, and risk being caught to get closer to him)

  14. Too many errors from England, dropped balls, wild offloads and missed first tackles. They also look very vulnerable off turnover ball, NZ identified mis-matches very easily.

    There’s a lot of competition for places in this England team. I think Lancaster should sacrifice continuity and drop players that don’t perform. England seem to be sticking to a game plan, therefore making changes shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the performance.

    For me, only Robshaw (as he is captain) and probably Tuilagi are the only undroppable players.

    On the Tuilagi break, I thought Brown was maybe suffering from a knock, as it seemed all the covering NZ players just breezed past him. That said I think Tuilagi should have scored, would have made the game very different.

  15. Has anyone complimented tuilagi like eastmond has? Little short balls, off loads, has a kicking game and is razorsharp off the mark . Bring him back and go for there, all this talk of 36 being the only play making 12 is nonsense. As is sir Clive’s notion that Farrell should play 12 outside burns. That is a calamity waiting to happen. I think Clive needs to appreciate that this isn’t his team and their goals are different to his. He was one of the most heavy weight names calling for Manu to be shifted to the wing and we all saw the results. He wasn’t abysmal but we could have done with an out and out winger to finish that break. If only wade wasn’t injured

    1. I think Sir Clive knows exactly what he’s talking about. Farrell has played at 12 outside Burns and Ford at age level and it worked very well. It would give Burns extra cover as a second distributor, and would help bring Tuilgai or Burrell into the game more from 13.

  16. The Tuilagi on the wing was bound to fail. With care looking rusty and farrell playing it was going to be a failure.

    The only way this experiment would ever work is if George Ford was the fly half who could help draw manu in. Just like the way Bath do it with Rokoduguni. Farrell is not someone who can draw in his wingers, but George Ford is someone who can. The only other person who can is Cipriani.

  17. In amongst all the Kiwi gloating and England despair, I would make the following sober point.

    I have never seen a NZ side switch off in the last 10 mins as we saw on Saturday. I have seen so many AB sides delight in preventing sides from any kind of consolation.

    NZ used to be an 80 min side. On Saturday they were a 20 min side. It was enough for victory. Just. At home. But NZ should be worried. An Eng side is gutted by losing by one point away. NZ seem very happy (given the comments on other sites) but winning by any means.

    This speaks volumes to me.

  18. Benoit
    Your point is precisely why Hansen said there is a lot more to come.If they play for 80 mins we will be destroyed big time.We need a different approach and go back to a forward oriented driving tight game.Select Hartley Lawes Attwood and Billy V and maybe Haskell as well.A loose game at 100mph is exactly what NZ want so adopt the opposite tactic I suggest

    1. Maybe Simon. But I’m not so sure they have it in them. For so along they have managed to blow sides away in a good 40 min blitz, but I think they will find it hard in this year’s championship.

  19. Some interesting points on here. I’m generally happy with the way England played, particularly in the first half. NZ were outstanding for 20 minutes, but we could have managed territory better during that period, we didn’t help ourselves.

    Going into this series, winning one test out there would have been a huge success, and we still have a very good chance to do that.

    For next week I’d go:
    Marler, Hartley, Wilson, Launchbury, Parling, Wood, Robshaw, Vunipola, Care, Farrell, Yarde, Twelvetrees, Tuilagi, Ashton, Brown

    Webber, Mullan, Brookes, Lawes, Morgan, Youngs, Burns, Foden

  20. Well I am with Benjit in his (her?) assertion that New Zealand were finished in the last 10 minutes.

    Because of this, and because England were the better side for the first half, I don’t think that the score flatters England at all. I wouldn’t argue that New Zealand were deserved winners for that period after half time BUT, that was it.

    I have seen plenty of comments along the lines of “If NZ play like that for 80 etc, etc” – but they don’t.

    Sad to say that I thought Burrell was poor, and Tuilagi did OK on the wing BUT he was missed in the centre.

    Again – what does Twelvetrees offer, that Eastmond doesn’t?

    Launchbury, Wood, Brown, Care – they all look like they need a rest.

    How good was Ben Smith (and for that matter Folau and Le Roux?)?

    1. Was enjoying father’s day yesterday so definitely a “him”. Tried to put up an avatar to prove it, but it was deemed obscene!

  21. I really hope the 12T debate is now over. Apart from one break (admittedly there was a very big hole to run into), he didn’t really do anything all game.

    If we need a creative player at 12, then stick Eastmond back in, or play Cipriani at 12 alongside Farrell. I actually think they could work quite well as a partnership. We have seen Cipriani’s willingness to tackle this season, and I think he would be up to the job.
    Or we play Burns or Cipriani at 10, and play Burrell and Tuilagi together in the centre.

    I think Burrell needs people to run lines off, and this week he was missing the go forward ball that Vunipola creates. In the 6N we saw him running great support lines off Care, Farrell and Vunipola, and without Vunipola on the pitch we didn’t create the same chances. I would at least give Burrell and Tuilagi a chance to play together in the centre. Start with Burns or Cipriani, and have Farrell on the bench to cover fly half and centre.

    Also thought that Wood was a little anonymous this week, and we missed the pressure that Haskell was laying down last week.

    With these points in mind, my squad for next week is:
    1. Marler
    2. Hartley
    3. Wilson
    4. Launchbury
    5. Lawes
    6. Haskell
    7. Robshaw
    8. Vunipola
    9. Care
    10. Cipriani
    11. Yarde
    12. Burrell
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Brown

    16. Webber
    17. Waller
    18. Sinckler
    19. Attwood
    20. Morgan
    21. Dickson
    22. Farrell
    23. Foden

    1. Mostly agree with your team, other than 10/12. I’d stick with Farrell/Twelvetrees.

      I think Twelvetrees is really beginning to take a lot of unwarranted stick. In the first half, when England looked really good IMO, his passing game really spread the NZ defence. His passing games forces NZ to defend 5 or 10 meters wider that they would do without 12Ts playing. Add in his kicking game (which was poor on Saturday, but is actually very good), and he offers a lot. He made more breaks that Eastmond as well.

      Clearly, he needs to cut the errors out! His offload to Wood that led to the try could have ended in a try for England. He draw two defenders brilliantly and got his arms free. Yes the offload was sh*t and went straight to ground, BUT, on another day he could have been the hero!

      A lot of England players made silly errors this week, none more so than Care and Brown, but that doesn’t mean we just drop them.

      1. Well no, Care and Brown have a series of superb games under their belt, so one poor-ish game does not mean we should drop them

        12T on the other hand has a series of mediocre to poor games under his belt where everything good he does is over-balanced by a series of bad things – poor execution, missed tackles and silly errors.

        He has had more than enough chances to cement his place in the side and has not done so. SL should bite the bullet and drop 12T, whether for Eastmond or Burrell

        i just hope that SL can admit his mistakes and put things right. He managed to get over his obsession with A Goode at fullback, hopefully he can get over 12T as well

        (Also really, really hope he’s realised that putting Tuilagi on the wing was a silly idea)

        1. Obviously I was not suggesting we drop Care and Brown – more making the point that 12Ts was not the only guy to play poorly, and in fact, was not as bad as Farrell, Care or Burrell.

          I generally agree that 12Ts has not cemented his place, he is droppable, but I still think that he deserves the 12 shirt for now. He passing game is so underrated – it really stretches defenses. He can make breaks, and has a good kicking game (Saturday was not a good example, but we all know he does!).

          12Ts still has a long way to go before he is a world class 12, but he is still our best option the closest thing to an all round 12 that we have.

  22. Matt

    Yr side looks ok to me, apart from Cip @ fly. Why is SL so conservative abt DC? Doesn’t he like skill? Is it a case of ‘can’t play, won’t play’ Cip due prev trust issues? Besides Farrell, of Churchillian will & all that, actually wasn’t really all that was he?

    Also ironic for me in that u go for Attwood as does the S Times Taff. When I’d asked yonks ago why Atters wasn’t given more time as he’d been around & mentioned for a while, I was put in my place by being told he was only 4 in the peck order. Mmmm. How times change?

  23. Dazza

    Yr team also looks ok to me, but as I prev mentioned, I don’t know if it matters that much who England put out, esp @ fwd, altho I acknowledge that if Engalnd want to power over NZ, ‘the bigger the better’ philosophy may hold sway.

    The S Times hacks, i.e. both Barnes! & Jones, advocate England’s abandoning of the running game & reverting to R1. They seem to be of the opinion that the dastardly ABs lured them into a hi tempo match in which England couldn’t match up!?

    For me tho, this is ltd & retrograde thinking. As I’ve said b4, teams need to score when they have the ball (& tries are worth 5/7) & to stop the oppo from doing so when they don’t have the ball. In other words a team must surely have an all round game & adapt it (that’s the trickey bit) as approp during a game.

    Which brings me back to yr pick. It seems more enlightened to me for u to have made the braver call for Cip @ fly, but I’m not sure that Burrell @ center inside Tui is a compatible mix. Would Eastmond not be a better bet, esp as Burrell didn’t really feature as an Int’al. Eastmond has lightning hands & feet? Worth a punt now I’d venture. Not much too lose now in seeing what initiative he’s got. Besides, Burrell could be brought in if nec to beef up midfield.

  24. Benjit

    It’s 1 game. Altho I agree that the ABs’ don’t usually ‘switch off’ during a match, saying that that they did so this time may be premature. I mean they came on strong enough at the end in the 1st test didn’t they?

    1 swallow & all that?

    1. Don,

      I’ve just got used to seeing ABs not giving an inch, even when the match is well won. Yes the game was won, but the ABs usually delight in not just winning, but the manner of the win too. Are standards slipping? Last week they came good at the end becuase they had to to win, but this week the game was won, yet they allowed Eng to come away with some positives (however bittersweet or misplaced these may be).

  25. Benjit

    Well it’s 1 of those perceptions things I think. If, e.g., reffing the Ireland tour last time, the ABs looked anything other than they were ‘slipping’ then too. However, they went on to put 60 on the Irish in the last game & not too long ago put 7 (I think) past the Boks @ their ‘graveyard’ @ alt @ Ellis Pk.

    Thats’ why it seems prem to say otherwise. I mean if they go out & do a real no on England nxt Sat, what will be said then? 1 game can seemingly change opinions pretty quickly methinks. Too quick sometimes.

    On the other hand, as SL said, they have 9 over 30 in the squad & guys like Ritchie have seemed less prominent of late. This may be a decline in his game due to age & also with some others, or maybe not. A team needs an exp core, esp with decsion makers, piv players, in a WC. Brad Thorn was no spring chick last time… & incidentally, the Saffas have recently recalled Burger, Botha & Matfield.

    Anyway, the ensuing yr will likely be a better guide for me.

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